Picture this. You come pulling into the driveway with an 8 foot round stock tank in your husbands truck (you told him you were going to the dump). He goes on and on about what animal did you buy now, and you just say “trust me.”

Whether it’s a bare-bones setup or surrounded by quality accessories, a stock tank as a pool has appeal for the do-it-yourselfer in search of a lower-cost cool-off. (Photo courtesy heywanderer.com)

A few hours of elbow grease later and you’ve created an oasis. You can float and gloat with a good ole “told you so!” Pretty perfect, huh?
Setup and Upkeep
While a cheaper investment than a traditional pool by far, a stock tank pool project will still have some costs associated with it so take your time, prep your spot and get your supplies ready.
We all know the Eastern Shore is flat, but in this case, you will want a very flat and smooth spot to keep the water even and for your pump to work the best.
To do so, you can grade down the spot or pack down some sand to cushion your tank a bit.
Though a deck is a good spot to lounge, keep in mind these pools can get very heavy and crashing through a deck, especially a raised one, is not very relaxing (and you may spill your drink).
There are a few different sized stock tanks for your pool paradise.
For maximum party space, the largest standard size is 8-foot round to suit about four adults or a handful of children, while a 6-foot round tank works for smaller families and the 2-feet by 4-feet oval is an option for one or two people.
Now, of course, you might have an old photo of you splashing in and sharing a trough in use by muddy cow. Well, there’s nothing wrong with how it was done in the old days but if you want a pool that lends more to relaxing, you’ll want to consider a filter or other means of upkeep. There are several filter-pump combos that will work to cut down on debris and circulate water to then in turn cut down on emptying out and scrubbing your tub of slippery and irritating algae build up.
One front runner is the Intex 1,000 gallons per hour, 110-120v that will need to be installed by drilling holes and using some gaskets to hold it in place toward the bottom edge of your pool.
Also, like a normal pool, you’ll want to have your cabana boy use a skimmer net on occasion in addition to keeping a cover over it.
With flip-flopping Maryland weather, a solar cover will do double duty keeping things out and helping to heat the water as well.
As far as chemicals go, take the proper precautions. An inexpensive chlorine float will keep them from settling against the metal of the pool which can lead to rust and corrosion. Though the tank is obviously meant for water, a layer of sealant can also help save off corrosion as well.
If you don’t want to embrace the country chic look of your galvanized tank you can paint, but you’d need to take a few extra steps in prepwork. To prime, try Leak Seal which adheres to the tank for your paint to then adhere to it.
Dressing Up Your Tank
After you build your pool it is time dress it up with some additional features, a flamingo float being a given. For a bit of functional landscaping, pebble or other rock not only looks nice but helps keep the grass off your feet and out of your pool. A small but sturdy step to get in and out is helpful, too. If you have a plastic infant slide such as the classic one from Little Tykes, the steps will work to climb up and slide into the pool, no building required.
A wooden bench or some type of decking is almost a must. From resting snacks, drinks and towels to being able to sit with just your feet in the water, consider surrounding at least part of your tub with a place to perch.
Other ways to fancy up your “hillbilly pool” to the next level are to sink it in the ground and landscape accordingly, or settle it under your pergula. No matter how you set it up, it’s sure to be a fun, focal point of your yard.
Do remember, though it may be only 2 feet deep, your pool is still a pool. Consider a fence or barrier of some type to restrict access. Have the proper chat with little ones about water safety and fence or gate it off as necessary. Another way to keep your little ones safe in the sun is to cut pool noodles lengthwise and placing along the edge in case they bop their head or the metal should get too hot.
After a summer of fun and the cold weather hits, simply drain your pool, remove the filter and lean it up in a somewhat protected area until next year. Creating a stock tank pool can be a fun project that brings back both the days of yesteryear splashing in a dirty trough to now an Instagram worthy paradise!